Monday, August 21 2017

VietNamNews

Cycling recommended

Update: May, 18/2014 - 12:00

Travelling by bicycle, one can have an incredible experience.

Truong Van Phuc started doing this after changing from being a motorcyclist to a pedal cyclist.

He actually pedalled across the whole of Viet Nam.

He says that he saw more travelling by bicycle because many things flashed passed him so quickly when he was on his motorbike.

Not a race: Truong Van Phuc (right) takes a photo with a German couple who cycled from India to Singapore.
Not a race: Truong Van Phuc (right) takes a photo with a German couple who cycled from India to Singapore. -  Photo courtesy of Truong Van Phuc

by Lan Dung

Truong Van Phuc has travelled to the northern provinces of Viet Nam by motorbike with his friends many a time. However, a 15-day bicycle trip from Ha Noi to Ca Mau, the southernmost point of the country recently made the 24-year-old fall in love with cycling.

Borrowing a giant bike from a friend he met on Facebook, Phuc replaced the old or broken parts, and prepared the itinerary and expenditure for the journey.

The Thai Binh-born packed two sets of clothes, a repair kit and backup inner tubes on the back of the bicycle, and headed south with his friends.

For him, this journey was an opportunity to see the beauty of the country and meet locals in every place he set foot in. Phuc chose the itinerary based on his personal interests.

"I do not think that trips like these are to conquer nature or something like that. Like Edmund Hillary, who is the first mountaineer to reach Mount Everest, said: ‘It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves,'" he said.

"I used to travel by train and by motorbike but with these two means of transportation, sceneries glide past so quickly that we miss the beautiful moments. Moreover, cycling increases our physical strength as well as challenges our perseverance and skill to solve break-downs on the road."

Phuc did not run into trouble on the road, but the inner tube of his friend's touring bike broke a lot because there were small rocks and sharp objects, sometimes even nails, on Vietnamese roads.

However, that was only a tiny part of the trip, and could not diminish the excitement of the bikers. They had received a lot of support from friends and locals who he had just met on Facebook. Phuc still recalled that on numerous occasions they reached home at 11pm, when their parents would be waiting for them to have dinner.

Phuc, who is on an internship with Talisman Energy Inc. in Malaysia, intends to buy a new bike this month and improve his physical strength by cycling on short-distance trips and slopes around Kuala Lumpur. He will travel from the Malaysian capital to HCM City by bike in 20 days in September.

Earlier, in 2008, Nguyen Hoang Long cycled more than 1,700km from HCM City to Ha Noi along with two friends. The Hanoian chose the itinerary because "they would have driving power to pedal from there to get home".

However, he made one big mistake. At the end of the year, the wind blows from north to south, and cyclists have to pedal upwind. This led to him falling off the bike when cycling from Khanh Hoa Province's Nha Trang to Binh Thuan Province's Phan Ri. He received six stitches, and the scar is still on his leg to remind him of the trip.

After the 15-day bike trip, Long decided to join the Emong Group, which has about 50 members, and connect with others who shared his desire of cycling. Since then, he has taken part in various trips with his friends in the group, but has never cycled across Viet Nam again.

Long, who is now an administrator of the Emong Group's forum, said that they only considered the bicycle as a means of transportation and regarded the feeling of bikers on the journey as more important. He urged cyclists not to go beyond their limitations, and relax when they felt very tired.

"Young people often like conquering the challenges. However, this is a trip, not a race. Our objectives are to enjoy cycling and completing the journey," he said.

Long said that people should use mountain bikes for their trips and only need to bring necessary items such as two sets of water-resistant clothes, a bike repair kit and a medical kit. According to him, for those who want to travel by bike, they should cycle every day to help their muscles get used to it.

Asked why a bike is the best choice for trips, Long said, "Cycling does not make loud noises and that helps bikers hear birds and the winds sing. It is not as fast as travelling by motorbike and not as slow as going on foot. With a bike, tourists can pedal and enjoy the beauty of the areas around," he added.

He once took a trip to Tay Con Linh, one of highest mountains in the north of Viet Nam. Although, sometimes they had to carry their bikes and walk through the grass and trees, all the members enjoyed themselves cycling on dirt roads and seeing clouds floating around them.— VNS

GLOSSARY

Borrowing a giant bike from a friend he met on Facebook, Phuc replaced the old or broken parts, and prepared the itinerary and expenditure for the journey.

An itinerary is a plan that you put together when you go travelling. You include on it the dates on which you plan to visit places, how you plan to get from one place to another and the time it will take you, the accommodation you will stay at, the sights you would like to see and so on.

Expenditure for a journey is the money you plan to spend on that trip.

"Moreover, cycling increases our physical strength as well as challenges our perseverance and skill to solve break-downs on the road."

To have perseverance means to keep on doing something and not to give up, even if it does not bring success quickly.

However, that was only a tiny part of the trip, and could not diminish the excitement of the bikers.

To diminish the excitement means to make it less.

Phuc, who is on an internship with Talisman Energy Inc. in Malaysia, intends to buy a new bike this month and improve his physical strength by cycling on short-distance trips and slopes around Kuala Lumpur.

Courses that people study at universities and colleges often require them to work for a while in the job they are training to do, before they can be fully qualified. This period of employment is an internship.

However, he made one big mistake. At the end of the year, the wind blows from north to south, and cyclists have to pedal upwind.

Upwind means into the oncoming wind.

He urged cyclists not to go beyond their limitations, and relax when they felt very tired.

Your limitations are the point after which you can go no further.

"Our objectives are to enjoy cycling and completing the journey," he said.

Objectives are things you aim to achieve.

WORKSHEET

State whether the following sentences are true, or false:

1.      Ca Mau is at the southern tip of Viet Nam.

2.      Malaysia's capital city is Kuala Lumpur.

3.      You would never, ever find a nail on a road in Viet Nam.

4.      Tay Con Linh is one of the highest mountains in Viet Nam.

5.      Nguyen Hoang Long's home city is Ho Chi Minh City.

ANSWERS:

© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2014





























 1. True; 2. True; 3. False; 4. True; 5. False.

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